Christmas is coming ...

And that can strike fear in to the hearts of many a Parent. For so many reasons ....

If you have just had a baby , every family member wants to descend on you to see baby's first Christmas. This can be a good thing and bad thing. One , you might want Christmas to just be the three of you and even with well meaning Grandparents it can be a lot of pressure on you to look after them as well as yourself. I love my parents but as they get older, it feels a bit like I have more kids than helping hands when they come over. Suddenly you are faced with having to entertain everyone over the holiday period when you just need to bond and sleep and sit around in your pjs. Even if bubs is in their first year and not teenie weenie, all the extra guests can be consuming and overwhelming and very tiring. It's ok , to say No , or to stagger them , or put your foot down and if they must see you, you will go there so that you control the timings and places you are expected to show off the wee one. You're allowed to have Christmas Day to yourself, and see people Boxing Day. Or organise a lunch somewhere so no one is cooking , take the pressure off.

But if 'They ' are with you , utilise them! They really are there is see and help with baby after all, ( who are we kidding, your old news)! So hand over wee one and go have that long shower or bath or sleep. Make the most of the extra hands and put your feet up. Point to the kettle and make sure they know where the biscuits and extra chocolate you ordered in for yourself is kept. Show them the tea and cups and encourage them to use it especially when making you one ! Their present to you ... is to look after the house and wee one and let you relax.

Once you have older kids, Presents instil panic ! With so many ways to bombard your wee ones with desires and must haves. It can get a bit daunting with the run up to Christmas that you get what they want. In all my years as a nanny , watching Christmas fads come and go, get them what ever you want, or think they need. If it's the latest must have and you can get it , and you want to , then do. But don't stress about not getting it if you cant , either unavailable or too expensive. I watched Mums wrestle in jelly to get the latest Teletubbies many moons ago and yet 6 weeks later, they were on sale and I got whole set in one go and all my wee ones were happy. belated but just as happy as if it had been Christmas Day. It's just nice to get something to unwrap but don't feel pressured in to latest and greatest fads. We do need to teach our kids that instant gratification can lead to an unhealthy obsession with consumer goods. The I must have it, is not a great trait. Saving up, earning it , or really appreciating items is better. My teens have to have the latest phones but they lose appeal immediately as next gadget is out. I don't want to prompt play ground hierarchies either , the have and have nots. A 2nd hand bike they are going to grow out of but has been painted up is just as good. I loved getting taught to ride mine with my Dad and thats the memory I have now, not whether it was brand new or not. We have made our teens save up Christmas and birthday monies towards their gadgets to get a sense of what things cost and buying something verses getting given something every time.

Another nightmare of Christmas is hosting and I am this year, I've found a bit of pre planning is needed. Order your turkey early to avoid disappointment and long queues or better , get it dropped off ! Do online shopping , but get it delivered a few days early so any substitutions can be sorted out. I had a Christmas once where they substituted the potatoes for root veg in the whole order, the day before Christmas. We had NO potatoes , NO way of getting any and SIX trays of parsnips and carrots ! Have lists and plan ahead menus and numbers and cooking times. And get people helping out through out the day so you're not in the kitchen and everyone else is in the chocolates and pig in blankets !

Get into the festive spirit and I don't just mean, getting the mulled wine and winter Pimms. Christmas with children is kind of what it is all about. For the younger ones there are playgroups and classes all doing a party. So find some outfits to embarrass them in, in later years. Who doesn't love the elf photo when you were 6 months old coming out every year ! Or wee Christmas pudding onesie ! Find a Santa / Father Christmas and plonk them on their knee for that obligatory Christmas card photo. Take all ages to the turning on of the lights in town, a Christmas market and or find a farm that's borrowed a reindeer or two for the month . Wear a Christmas jumper yourself !

Christmas morning would not be the same without the pre dawn wake up, or the everyone in pjs ripping at parcels and then taking their swag back to their rooms. Just remember NO wrapping paper !!! It's not recyclable unless you, yourself intend to use it again and again. If you have willing and able wee ones, a roll of brown paper and paints and stamps, Eco glitter or confetti. Makes a great personal wrapping paper. We had a Christmas present sack. It's a great idea to put everything in and can be used year after year. If you have anyone handy with needle and thread, ask them to rustle you some up. Also big gift bags that can be reused are also a great way to present presents without mountains of paper to landfill.

Now you are all prepared and amped up, just remind yourself, that Christmas and the Holiday season is a wonderful time to be with family and friends. But on your terms ! Don't feel pressured by someone else predetermined way of doing things. Christmas is about making traditions and memories for YOUR family. Bit like Pick and Mix theory that I champion. You can take a bit of tinsel from there and tradition from them. Mistletoe from here and expectations from what you want to get out of it. Throw it together in your own snow globe and have your perfect Christmas. Happy Holidays xx

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